McGimpsey and Tallent share the lead at the Seniors Open Championship

Garth McGimpsey, the former Walker Cup Captain and player from Bangor in Northern Ireland, and American Patrick Tallent both produced solid second rounds to share the lead going into the final day of the Seniors Open Amateur Championship at Royal Aberdeen.

McGimpsey had three birdies from inside 12 feet in a joint best of the day 72, while Tallent’s 73 was composed in the late afternoon when the wind was whipping across the course and sending scores skywards.

On one over par, the pair led by a shot from American George Zahringer and then there was a four stroke gap to the next group on six over par, Ireland’s Tom Cleary (73) and Arthur Pierse (76), England’s Tyrone Carter (74) and American Steve GollIher (73).  

Chip Lutz, winner for the past two years, finished inside the top ten on seven over par, with his round of 79 ruined by one hole, a quadruple-bogey eight at the 18th.  He hit his second into gorse, lost the ball and then hit his sixth shot over the green.

“It was a dreadful finish,” said a deflated Lutz. “I fought so hard all day and that one hole could have taken me right out of it. But there is always tomorrow.”

McGimpsey’s best finish in the Championship was third on his debut at Walton Heath in 2010. “I’m really very pleased and I didn’t really expect it,” said the man who played in three Walker Cup teams and skippered two. “This is the first time I have played Royal Aberdeen and I really enjoyed it. It’s a great course.”

For Tallent, the goal is to discard his tag as the nearly man. Runner-up in the 2012 USGA Senior Amateur Championship, the golfer from Vienna in West Virginia has finished fifth, fourth and sixth in this Championship in the past three years.

His 73 was undoubtedly the most consistent of the day. He bogeyed the first, third and the 17th and birdied the long sixth with a chip and putt. “The rest were pars,” he was delighted to report. “We had some tough weather but I’m really happy with the score.”

It was mixed fortunes for the two first round leaders. New York’s Zahringer, the 2003 Walker Cup player, added a 75 to his opening 69 but Brady Exber failed to make the cut.

Exber, from Las Vegas, had a disastrous nine, nine start and never really recovered. He finished with an 89 – 20 shots more than the first round – and his 16 over par 158 total was two shots too many.

At the first, it was trouble in a bunker including a double hit, that caused the mayhem and a lost ball at the second added to the misery.

By contrast, Zahringer had the highlight of an eagle at the 491-yard sixth. A drive, five iron and 12 foot putt. But he also dropped a few to many.

“I just never quite got into a good rhythm today,” suggested the 2002 US Mid-Amateur Champion. “Mentally, I wasn’t quite as sharp.”

The most spectacular run of the day – four holes in six under par from the fifth – came from American Tony Green.  The man from Knoxville, Tennessee, birdied the fifth, eagled the par five sixth, birdied the seventh and then had a hole in one at the eighth.

With halves of 32 and 41 he shot a 73 and his well-deserved reward was making the cut on 13 over par, one inside the final 156 mark.

The ace at the 147-yard hole was an eight iron shot that hopped once and then dropped into the hole. It was Green’s 15th hole in one of his career.

“This is my time in this Championship and my first time playing links golf,” he said. “I had a similar run in the USGA Senior Amateur at Kinloch Virginia two years ago when I was six under for the final five holes.”

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